A bomb explosion of low intensity injured 17 people, including 12 police personnel, in Bangalore on Wednesday morning. The blast occurred some 100 metres from the headquarters of the Bharatiya Janata Party at Malleswaram. The police personnel were in a Karnataka State Reserve Police van stationed on 24-hour election duty.

Two cars and two two-wheelers were gutted, while the police van was damaged in the explosion that shook the densely populated semi-residential area. The 10.20 a.m. blast coincided with the last day of the filing of nominations for the May 5 Assembly polls.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the blast was triggered by a timer-based improvised explosive device fitted on a blue Suzuki motorcycle — it turned out to be an Andhra Pradesh vehicle with fake Tamil Nadu registration plates — parked between two cars. Initial reports pointed to an LPG cylinder in a party worker’s Maruti Omni van as the source.

Special teams

Police Commissioner Raghavendra H. Auradkar said special teams had been formed for investigation. A forensics team found the timer. The police said they have CCTV footage of the area. Sketches are being prepared of the motorcycle rider, based on two persons’ claims they saw someone park the vehicle there at 10.15 a.m.

The last blast occurred in the city three years ago to the day, ahead of an Indian Premier League fixture at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. On Tuesday, in the wake of the Boston blasts and ongoing IPL 6 series, the Union Home Ministry had issued a general advisory to the State police. However, Mr. Auradkar said there was no specific intelligence on the Malleswaram blast.

The busy street on Malleswaram, which was in the thick of electoral activity, was covered with shattered glass, mostly from broken vehicle window panes.

KSRP head constable Venkateshaiah, who was having his breakfast inside the van when the blast occurred, said: “We heard a loud explosion, and before we knew it, the windows shattered and there was thick black smoke everywhere. We couldn’t see a thing initially but somehow made our way out of the van.” When the smoke cleared a bit, he saw people lying with injuries. Some of them had lost consciousness.

They were rushed to the State-run K.C. General Hospital and Mallige Hospital. Hospital authorities said all the injuries were caused by shattered glass and the impact of the blast (sound and heat). Barring two minor surgeries, all the victims sustained only light injuries, mainly cuts.

Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha said the police report on the blast was despatched to the Election Commission. “As of now there is no link of the blast to the May 5 elections,” he said.

Condemning the blast, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told presspersons in Hubli “the real intention behind the crime will be traced once the investigation was over.”